Blackwell named Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life

Steadfast voice for social justice

Angela Glover Blackwell

Angela Glover Blackwell, the founder and chief executive officer of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity, has been appointed as the inaugural Fred and Rita Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life at Brandeis University.

As part of the fellowship, Blackwell will come to Brandeis on March 24-25, 2014, to meet with students and faculty to discuss the field of social justice and to provide insight on effective social justice advocacy. She also will present a public lecture and receive the $25,000 award on March 25 at 5 pm in the Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library.

Brandeis Trustee Carol Richman Saivetz ’69, P ’97, P ’01 and her family established the Fred and Rita Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life to bring individuals to campus who have had a significant impact on “improving American society, strengthening democratic institutions, advancing social justice, or increasing opportunities for all Americans to share in the benefits of this nation.”

Named in honor of Saivetz’s parents, the fellowship complements the recent conversion of the Fred and Rita Richman Distinguished Visiting Professorship to an endowed chair in politics or economics.

The Richman and Saivetz families have a long, multi-generational involvement with Brandeis. Carol became an alumni leader in the 1970s, together with her late husband, former Brandeis Alumni Association President Richard Saivetz ’69, who died in 2000. Their children, Michael ’97 and Aliza ’01, are both Brandeis alumni. Aliza is married to Daniel Glasser ’02. The gifts from the Richman and Saivetz families have supported student scholarships and the study and teaching of architecture at Brandeis.

“Our goal is to bring a distinguished public figure to Brandeis, highlighting the university’s academic excellence and providing opportunities for students to interact with leading thinkers focused on improving our society,” said Saivetz.

Blackwell, who has has more than 30 years’ experience in public interest law, philanthropic foundation public administration, and equitable policymaking, founded PolicyLink in 1999. Since then, it has become a leading national voice in the movement to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, education, and infrastructure.

“Angela Glover Blackwell is an outstanding choice for this honor,” said Brandeis President Frederick M. Lawrence.  “Her contributions span multiple areas of public policy but follow a common thread that links advocacy goals to tangible improvement of public health, economic vitality and neighborhood infrastructure.”

Prior to PolicyLink, Blackwell served as senior vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she oversaw the foundation’s Domestic and Cultural divisions. In 1987, she founded the Oakland Urban Strategies Council, where she pioneered new approaches to neighborhood revitalization. From 1977 to 1987, Blackwell was a partner at Public Advocates, a nationally known public interest law firm.

Blackwell earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University, and a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She co-chairs the Center for American Progress task force on poverty and sits on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Commission to Build a Healthier America. She currently sits on the boards of the Children's Defense Fund, Sojourners, and the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

This inaugural Richman Fellowship is the first of an annual series. Criteria and the formal nomination form for Richman Fellows for 2015 are available at, with nominations due March 1.

The Richman Fellowship is hosted by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life on behalf of the Office of the President. For more information, email

Categories: Alumni, Humanities and Social Sciences

Return to the BrandeisNOW homepage